The importance of Rituals

I am presently reading the book of Exodus and the accounts of the Passover and the Exodus. It is quite facinating to read of the institution of the Seder meal and the command to each year take the time to remember the Passover and the Exodus as the demonstration of the saving arm of God. The powerful conection the Exodus has to the institution of the Lord’s Supper at the Passover meal by Jesus continues to astound my mind and heart. The plan of God is awesome!

This morning I read an interesting piece of commentary on the importance of ritual and how it brings the history of the scripture into a reality for us and how that ritual makes the history of scripture more than just a “fairy tale”. RABBI MARC GELLMAN of Newsweek writes in a commentary on the new film ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’:

In great sacred stories, rituals are often the arms used by the story to draw us in. The ancient story of Jesus’ resurrection is not merely remembered but personally consumed in the Eucharist feast. The ancient story of the Exodus is personally consumed in the ritual of the Seder meal. In these ritual meals, the story enters us and we enter the other world where the story is born. Because fairy tales do not generate rituals, their world always remains at arm’s length away. There is no ritual that helps us enter Wonderland or Oz, but when the priest says that the wafer is the body of Christ; when the Passover story quoting Exodus 13:8 commands Jews of every age to believe that they personally were brought out of Egypt, these are not metaphors. They are sudden intrusions of the world of the holy into our world and our souls.

Makes perfect sense to me! It is making me appreciate the great gifts we have in the church, and the importance of them for my own spiritual life and health. God knows what he is doing in giving them to us!


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